If you’re a business owner, then profitability is probably one of the main reasons you started your business. “Sales is King”, an old boss of mine once told me.
As a one-man over-worked software delivery team, I often wished that our Sales team would slow down a bit, so that our developers and I could keep up with an ever-increasing list of orders! Of course, (and I appreciate this more now!) if you haven’t got a constant stream of revenue coming through the door, then that does somewhat limit your options for scaling the business going forward.
‘The Right Way’
The other side of that, naturally, is cost. But this does need to be balanced against the needs of your staff. While you aim to streamline operations and reduce the cost of doing business, your reputation counts for a lot here – everyone would prefer to do business with a company that does things ‘the right way’, with strong ethics and a strong focus on quality, agility and treating their staff well. This also applies internally, where employees would far rather identify with a business which is seen to be progressive and fair-minded.
One sure fire way of ensuring that your business progresses is via a focus on technology. It certainly pays to keep abreast of changes and advances, and there are plenty of forums out there promoting solutions in the name of automation / robotics / AI. It’s never been truer to say that if you’re standing still then you’re effectively going backwards, and by investing in technology in the short term, you’re protecting your bottom line in the longer term. What you don’t want, however, is to alienate your workforce in the process.
When X3CloudDocs sister company, Mysoft, were researching industry statistics for the launch, they found one source that said that 25% of Finance staff were unhappy in their jobs, as they felt that they were spending too long on labour-intensive manual input. There’s frustration bubbling these days surrounding data imports and exports, OCR, spreadsheets, macros, etc. There should be a better solution than continual manual input, which may well have been acceptable practice twenty, ten or even five years ago, but is becoming an increasingly outdated concept today.
Finance professionals would prefer to spend more time analysing, interpreting and presenting results which, after all, is what they spent many years training to do, rather than inputting journals and invoices.
And, it’s not just Finance. To paraphrase a mantra from Sales, even in a B2B environment, it’s true to say that “People prefer to deal with people”. Your Sales and Warehouse teams, to name but two, can be your biggest asset when it comes to dealing with third parties. They provide common sense solutions to problems and encourage compromise where needed. Failure of a business to adapt to these types of attitudes can be costly when business partners become frustrated and key staff then go in search of more motivating opportunities elsewhere.
The Power of Automation
Focusing for a moment on how Mysoft’s customers can leverage the power of automation, Sage X3 contains a number of tools and plugins designed to automate and speed up daily processes. These include: batch tasks, imports and exports, barcode scanning, sending and inbound processing of documents such as orders and invoices, and interfacing with external websites and carriers. All are designed to promote efficiency and can help to free up time for your staff. The extra time can be used to perform tasks that will, for instance, improve internal reporting and relationships, both externally with suppliers and customers, and internally between departments and sites. This makes employees feel like more valuable members of the workforce who also then feel more fulfilled and appreciative of the potential career progression that comes with increased responsibility.
Empowering your employees to use their brains, not just their fingers, to make important business decisions while providing them with the technical and inter-personal tools they can use to enhance their own skill-sets is a powerful way to improve motivation and, in turn, staff retention.